White House to hold talks with Taiwan officials in Washington - FT
TAIPEI (Reuters) -The White House will meet senior Taiwan officials next week in Washington for talks meant to be private to avoid an angry reaction from China, the Financial Times reported on Saturday, at a time of heightened tensions between Taipei and Beijing.
Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and National Security Adviser Wellington Koo will lead the delegation, the newspaper said, citing five people familiar with the talks whom it did not name.
The Taiwanese team will meet U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the FT said.
"I'm not able to comment on that and I'm not able to confirm that," Wu told reporters in Taipei.
The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Chinese-claimed Taiwan but is its most important arms seller and international supporter, to Beijing's consistent anger.
The Pentagon's top China official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Chase, has arrived in Taiwan, two sources familiar with matter said on Friday, beginning a visit that could exacerbate Sino-U.S. strains.
China and the United States are involved in a bitter dispute over the U.S. military's shooting down of what it called a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina this month. China says the balloon was for monitoring weather.
China staged war games near Taiwan in August to express its anger at a Taipei visit by then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Chinese military activities near the island have continued on an almost daily basis.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Rishabh Jaiswal in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)